Blue Sea Development Co. isn’t just providing affordable housing in its 124-unit Arbor House in the South Bronx. It’s helping to foster healthier lifestyles.
The development, which was completed in January and serves residents at 60 percent of the area median income, was designed to meet New York City’s Active Design Guidelines to promote physical fitness and reduce obesity. It includes a fully equipped gym, and stair usage is encouraged.
Sustainable features are throughout, earning the project LEED-Platinum, Energy Star, and National Green Building Gold ratings.
The smoke-free building includes formaldehyde-free insulation; low- and zero-VOC paints, sealants, adhesives, and finishes; low-VOC vinyl wall covering; and continuous background direct exhaust ventilation using Energy Star fans, constant air regulators, and trickle vents in each apartment. Energy-monitoring systems provide real-time feedback in each unit.
A hydroponic farm sits on the roof of the eight-story building. The farm is operated by Boston-based Sky Vegetables, and 40 percent of the produce will be made available to the community for residents, schools, hospitals, and markets.
“It’s a nice feeling that you’re giving this to a population that can afford it least and maybe needs it most,” says Blue Sea Principal Les Bluestone.
The $37.7 million development, which was constructed on land purchased at below-market value from the New York City Housing Authority, was financed with tax-exempt bonds from the New York City Housing Development Corp. and low-income housing tax credit equity. RBC Capital Markets acted as the syndicator, and JPMorgan Capital Corp. was the investor.